The seven sins and seven virtues of Universal Health Coverage

Date: 
28 Jun 2013

Chiara from PHM Italy, is part of the Italian Observatory on Global Health. They published following article on UHC:

Universal Health Coverage is likely to become the backbone on which the health development agenda beyond 2015 will be constructed. To avoid unintended effects, Universal Health Coverage should keep away from committing seven sins and should try to practice seven virtues.

Backed by most actors in the global health scene, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is likely to become the mantra that will drive health transformations for years to come and the backbone on which the health development agenda beyond 2015 will be constructed. There is now widespread agreement on the need to extend access to health care to all individuals and populations, as illustrated by UN statements, WHO reports, and a number of articles in medical journals, including a Lancet series. The call for UHC comes at a time when, after decades of neoliberal policies, privatization of health care services has reached a peak leading in many countries to further exclusion and/or catastrophic expenditures. To help reverse this trend, however, and to avoid unintended effects, UHC should keep away from committing seven sins and try to practice seven virtues.

 

1. Sloth (failure to do things that one should do and to make the most of one’s talents and gifts)
vs. Diligence (upholding one’s convictions at all times, especially when no one else is watching)

 

To many people, UHC may sound like Health for All. However, what is currently proposed differs substantially from what was proposed in Alma Ata. Primary health care intended to transform health systems, as opposed to health care systems, within a broader social transformation. The signatories of the Declaration were aware of the importance of the social determinants of health well before the report of the WHO Commission. Primary health care included education, nutrition, water and sanitation, in addition to essential health care. Unless UHC is served with an extensive dressing of primary health care and social determinants of health, i.e. unless it is implemented within a framework of social and economic transformation, it will not transform health as profoundly as hoped. Paradoxically, an excessive focus on UHC could divert attention and resources from other sectors with a bearing on health. (...)

 

Read the full paper at: http://getinvolvedinglobalhealth.blogspot.ch/2013/06/the-seven-sins-and-seven-virtues-of.html

 

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Authors: Adriano Cattaneo, Giorgio Tamburlini, Angelo Stefanini, Eduardo Missoni, Gavino Maciocco, Gianni Tognoni, Carlo Resti, Claudio Beltramello, Chiara Bodini, and Nicoletta Dentico, Italian Global Health Watch. Published in: Get involved in global health! Statements and debates on global health policy, 26 June 2013

 

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